Prison reform legislation has cleared its first legislative hurdle. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill aimed at diverting low-level poverty and drug offenders away from prison. The bill creates a new Class D felony category for lower level drug and property crimes. People convicted of those crimes would not be affected by the Habitual Offender Act. Alabama prisons house twice the number of inmates they were originally designed to hold. State officials say that the crowding level is dangerous and puts the state at risk of federal intervention.